Pebble's $10m smart watch gets release date

9 Jan 2013

Kickstarter project to start shipping on 23 January after more than three months of delays

The Pebble smart watch is ready to ship, after the Kickstarter project was delayed for almost four months.

Pebble is a $150 smart watch that connects to an Android handset or iPhone over Bluetooth to deliver texts, emails, call notifications and other information.

It was built following a massively successful fundraising campaign on crowdfunding site Kickstarter, raising more than $10 million from 65,000 people despite only asking for $100,000.

CEO Eric Migicovsky announced the Pebble watch at CES 2013, saying it was not only the company's first press conference, but the first he's ever attended too.

Eric Migicovsky

"To us, a smart watch is a connected device, which means it talks to your smartphone, and it's customisable, which means it can run different apps, and it’s sleek," he explained.

Pebble details

The Pebble features a 1.6in, 144 x 168 e-paper display - Migicovsky stressed it's not E Ink, but an LCD that can play 30fps animations. The display is black and white and "perfectly readable outdoors under direct sunlight," he said.

Pebble has a battery life of seven days, as the e-paper display doesn't require much power. Because the watch is connected to a smartphone all the time, it drains the handset's battery by as much as 5-10% a day, Migicovsky admitted.

The smart watch runs a proprietary Pebble OS on top of FreeRT OS. It comes with apps built-in to display different watch faces, and Migicovsky showed off a standard analogue design, a fuzzy time that shows vague text such as "ten to ten", and another that shows the time in binary.

Pebble smart watch

Aside from showing the time, the system pushes notifications from a smartphone app to the watch. That includes text messages, iMessages, and emails, with the text displaying directly on the watch. "It allows you to make a time management decision – is this email something I need to respond to right now, or deal with a little bit later?"

Pebble supports notifications from web services, such as Facebook and If This Then That. That latter site allows users to send automated messages. Migicovsky set one up a warning if it was set to snow in Las Vegas, but other IFTTT services include Instagram, LinkedIn and Evernote.

Pebble smart watch

Calls can be directed to the watch, which vibrates when a call is incoming. A user can see who's calling and push the call to voicemail directly from the watch.

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